A section of the new Energy Agenda Infographic from the White House blog. Click through to see the graphic in full and read the President’s remarks from Friday’s trip to a factory in Indiana highlighted as an example of economic recovery.
Bonus! Some sage advice offered from Jesse Lee, “check it out below, or download it, print it, send it to your family, or hang it on your wall to add a splash of color.” Economic recovery news AND decorating tips all in one spot! Who could ask for anything more?
It’s a horrible paradox that bad things are generally cheaper: Like Big Macs. Or H&M. Top of this list, of course, is coal power, which is really quite horrible for the planet but is also deliciously cheap to produce. We are, if nothing else, a bottom-line driven society. Besides the rarefied few of us who are willing to drop more money on organic food and clean power just because it’s the right thing to do, most people—out of necessity—are going to gravitate toward the cheapest and easiest option. Coal power is so cheap, it’s what the power company supplies without you asking. Sign me up! But now, according to new predictions from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, solar power is going to be the wallet-friendly option as soon as 2013.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, may not be panicking quite yet about its ever-declining oil supply—but the country is certainly concerned. Consider: in February, a Wikileaks document revealed that Saudi Arabia might be overstating its oil reserves by 300 billion barrels, and the country recently asked for a slice of the UN’s $100 billion climate change fund to help diversify to other energy sources (a galling request from such a wealthy country so dependent on other people not diversifying to other energy sources). And now the kingdom has announced that it plans to spend $100 billion on solar, nuclear, and other renewable energy sources. They haven’t announced over what time period they will spend it, but that’s a lot of cash. Private investments in Chinese renewable energy projects equalled $54.4 billion last year, which was the highest of any country.
“Fuel supply is one of the major challenges facing the power sector and the nation,” Saleh Al-Awaji, Saudi Arabia’s deputy minister for electricity at the Ministry of Water, said at a recent conference in Abu Dhabi (hat tip: Bloomberg). “The policy is to work intensely on saving energy and making sure every barrel of oil that can be saved is, and is made available for export.”
That means Saudi Arabia wants to wean itself off oil but keep the rest of us hooked (unless it has plans to become the world’s largest solar-panel exporter, too). The country still has a long way to go in reducing its reliance on oil—Saudi Arabia consumes 2.4 million barrels a day, and is expected to need at least 8.3 million barrels by 2028 if no action is taken. But the U.S. consumes a staggering 18.8 million barrels daily, making it the most oil-hungry nation in the world. A large portion of our oil comes from Saudi Arabia, which exports nearly 9 million barrels each day.
Saudi Arabia does, at least, have an advantage in the solar power arena: plentiful sun. In September, the kingdom will complete a 3.5 MW solar array—the largest solar power plant in the country. That’s not very large considering that the largest solar plants in the world produce nearly 100 MW of power, but it’s a much-needed start for a country that has grown in proportion to its oil wealth.
How Much Energy Do We Use While Watching the Super Bowl?
GE mashed up statistics from Nielsen, the Energy Information Administration, ABS Alaskan, and the U.S. Census to figure out that the energy used to power home televisions watching the Super Bowl (over 158.5 million TVs) could power all the homes in Green Bay, Pittsburgh, and Dallas for 10 hours. We’re not suggesting you turn off the game, but it is something to think about as you bask in the glow of your big screen.
As for the game itself? Renewable energy credits are offsetting power use at many NFL venues, and the recently implemented Super Grow XLV program (a partnership between the Texas Trees Foundation and the Texas Forest Service) planted over 6,500 trees in 12 north Texas communities, marking the biggest tree-planting effort in Super Bowl history. Cowboy Stadium (the site of this year’s game) also has targets to cut solid waste by 25%, water consumption by 1 million gallons, and energy use by 20% each year. Not a bad start.